Tax credits turned down

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None of Alexandrias affordable housing projects will receive tax credits unless appeals are successful. The Virginia Housing Development Authority (VHDA) released their preliminary rankings on Tuesday.

Neither the Alexandria Redevelopment and Housing Authoritys Glebe Park redevelopment nor the citys combination fire station and affordable housing project at Potomac Yard received sufficient points to be awarded tax credits and RPJ Housings Arbelo project was disqualified. Of all of them, the housing authority has the most immediate problem.

We are looking at VHDAs reasoning and trying to decide whether we are going to file an appeal, said A. Melvin Miller, chairman of ARHAs board. We have to meet with Eakin Youngentob, our partner, to discuss all of the issues and consider all of our options.

Redeveloping the site and returning the public housing units to service is part of a plan to keep the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development from foreclosing on the property. The housing authority purchased the property in 1987 and over the past 20 years, mold and deteriorating infrastructure have caused many units to be closed. With a mortgage of $6 million and dwindling federal funds, the only way to return the units to service is to raze the buildings and start over. As proposed, the new project would contain just over 100 public housing units and six market-rate units.

Concerns
Alexandria City Councilman Rob Krupicka expressed concerns about the project when it was presented at Council and was not surprised that VHDA did not award tax credits to help with financing. One of the things that get points from VHDA is the use of scattered sites, Krupicka said. Another is placing public housing in areas where there is not a lot of poverty. This area has a substantial amount of low-income housing and this project does not have a lot of mixed-income units.

As to the fire station project, The city has a number of other financing options, said Mark Jinks, Assistant City Manager for Finance. There is a federal cap on the number of nine percent low-income housing tax credits that are available to each state.

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